Monday, March 31, 2008

3/31/08 Monday 5:35 am

Today is going to be a busy day for Will. He has quite a few tests and they might decide that he's stable enough to go down to ct to get scanned. The other tests will be up in his room. I won't go into all the tests and reasons because a lot of them are to rule things out. They are trying to find out why he is so weak.
Tonight he slept so hard, I really think this will help him so much. He had a wonderful nurse, she was just so peaceful and made him relax. Auntie and Uncle Al were here for most of the evening. Every night (or early morning) when xray is done, he and I always set a goal for the day. Sometimes it's something as easy as staying awake for a whole hour. Well, he just set his goal for next week. He wants to be strong enough to watch NCAA championship game with a BIG Pepsi.
How's that for a goal?? He actually wrote that for the drs. to see.
We have been a little worried about him being depressed, well---he's back. He just needed some attitude adjustment time. This helped too, his cousin called and told him that she named her new baby after him. She said that if he would grow up to be half the man Will was, she would be so happy. Brought tears to my eyes and finally a smile to Will's face. Thanks Billie and Matt.
By the way, he wants to bring this nurse, Sumer, home with us when we leave. Maybe we can tempt her.
I told you that I had a special memory of Will's that one of his high school friends shared with us.
This was absolutely his best moment of all when he was in school. This came in a form of an email for Will but I convinced Jason to share it with you. Most of you will remember this.

I don't even have to tell you to keep battling or fighting, I know you don't know any other way. When I read what other people say about you, I nod in agreement and think the same thing. My first year up at Ricks, I wrote a paper for my English class. You used to have to write it in those blue books and on the back the sticker still shows it cost me 15 cents. Man this makes me sound old. It is about the only sign of higher education that I have kept other than my diplomas. But I didn't keep it because of the paper, but rather that it was about Will. I think I told Randy about the paper, but other than Mary I don't know if anyone knows that I wrote it. Every time I get of the blog, I think about Willie and this paper. It only got me an 85%, but that was because he probably gave me a 110% on the topic and a 50% on the writing. I don't think I even broke it into paragraphs. That was that crazy English teacher Fran Widners fault. I think it was around Thanksgiving and the assignment was to write about "the spirit of giving". So here it is: As the spirit of giving rises at this time of year, I think back to a time when giving was truly the best thing in life. Willie Harbison was a friend that had cystic fibrosis. He was a true friend to all and could have been thought of as a brother. Willie was like any other kid, but struggled with Cystic Fibrosis. He spend days and weeks in a hospital bed. But one thing about Willie was that he was never a quitter. He would keep you going at anything you did. He was certainly a true friend. Will was also the manger of our football team. He would have played if his health would have permitted. But as manager he was a great inspiration to have. He was one who you could sit down and talk and you knew he was listening. He was a key to our success and his giving made us a team give back more. In the middle of the season, Willie went into the hospital with a high fever. When we visited him he coughed and looked terrible. We knew it was serious and things did not look good. We saw the importance of the season dwindle and concentrated more on Willie. His health was more important and it showed as we dropped our second to last game of the season. We had given up as a team but Willie would never give up. The next week we played our rival Castleford and there was no way that Willie was going to be there. We had a terrible week of practice and we were sure the top rated team would blow us away. Before kickoff, we sat in the locker room, and in walks Willie. Still pale, but with a smile on his face. He just asked us to play hard as we could and he'd be proud. He walked out and the locker room broke out into havoc. We ripped up towels and wrote Willie on them. Before we went out, we got in a circle and prayed. No one prayed that we would play good and win, they just said thanks for giving us back Willie. We went out and instead of yelling Win, we yelled Willie. It's basically the same thing. We went on and beat Castleford and eventually the state championship. As we received the trophy, we gave it to Willie and told him it was his. We hoisted him on our shoulder and tears came to our eyes. Not that we had won, but that we had Willie. Willie is still in high school and has well lived out his expected life span. He hasn't made many trips to the hospital, and is playing varsity basketball. We gave him that state championship trophy, but he gave us love. Will, I want you to know that I do consider you as one that has had the great influence on my life. Your perseverance and courage is second to none and last night when Mindy called and said that you were not doing well, I was worried but I had the comfort in my heart. That comfort that reminds me what you are about and how you will always battle. You are in our prayers every night. I also need an address so I can send you down the inaugural Rocky Mountain Football coaches shirt. I have medium with your name on it, or if you are still retaining a little water, I can send down a XXL for the time being.
See you soon,Jason Jason Warr
Assistant Principal
Meridian High School

There is probably many people out there that remember that time. If you do, and want to add more to this by commenting, please do so. (Sue-do you remember what we did?) I was very touched by Jason's sentiment. If you know Jason, you know he isn't normally that kind of guy. Well, Jason, your secrets out. You are a good guy. Thanks for taking us back to a wonderful time (I think it was l988). If I were home I would put a picture of that on this blog but I don't have them with me.

So we need prayers for the tests to come back negative. God knows which ones. Prayers for Will to gain strength back and God's blessings on Will's friends that keep him motivated even when he doesn't want to be. We love you all.


Haneys said...

Hi all! We are back in Pocatello and getting back to the daily grind today...until tomorrow when we come that way! I really do hope to get to see you! I finally got the chance to see the news piece that's been all the buzz. I think you looked beautiful, Auntie! It would be nice to have had them show all of the things you talked about, but I guess all those stories about bad editing are true:)
We love you and are praying for positive test results! By the way, thanks for posting this story about the "giving". What wonderful friends Will has!

Coach said...

Terri it was actually 1989 but you were close.That was a magical year because we were picked to finish in 5th place in our league. We had won one game the year before. Jason is right when he said they played for Will. What a special group of players we had that year. Hagerman has never had a better group before or since. I will never forget the look on our players when Will walked into the dressing room. We only had 17 players on the team playing eleven man football, but that was all we needed because they all had the same goal, win a state championship. Will knew as much about the game as Coach Elliott , Coach Udy, or Coach Clark. he was more than just a manager. He was a great motivator for our team. We will never forget 1989, what a special year that was. Will has a championship ring to prove it.

P.S. one thing Jason forgot to mention, he injured his knee and missed most of the two games we lost.

Brenda said...

I'm sitting at work crying like only us Clarks can. I remember that day too. Thank you for sharing the wonderful memory. My prayers are with you everyday, but especially today that you will get stronger. Your family is such a strength to all of us.

Somer Love said...

Okay Super hero.... I like the goal!!! :) Nothing like a Big Pepsi and the final four!

Terri and Jason what a great memory that was. Thanks for sharing it honestly sounds like it came straight out of a movie. I can totally see Will on the shoulders holding the big trophy :) Will You are not just my super hero you are a super hero to MANY!!!!

KP said...

Hi Will! Terri! Tom!
I want to thank Jason for giving Terri permission to post his email. I appreciated reading it. How blessed we are to have Will in our lives! Such a giant of a person, you are Will! Pass those tests today! And hey, nothing sounds better than drinking a big ol' Pepsi while UNC kicks some fanny!!!

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." -John Wooden. I think it's safe to say that you live a perfect day EVERY day, Will!

Love ya,


Dave & Jane said...

That was a terrific story Terri! Will sure has touched a lot of people. Good luck with all the tests today. Tell Will UCLA is going all the way!

BreathinSteven said...

I like having girlie lungs because it makes me much less self-conscious about crying... Jason's email certainly got that ball rolling...

The people surrounding Will are inspiring and amazing -- and Jason made it pretty easy to see that Will inspires them... What a beautiful tribute to a friend!

Will, all of his tests, his Pepsi and a cooperative TV are all in my prayers...



Pam said...

Jason was right on target with his description of Will as was Randy. Everyone knows that I was only a coach in title; the girls' junior high basketball team was really his. He let me dabble with the 7th graders, but he was the driving force behind the success of the 8th grade teams. I can never say thank you enough for all the help that you gave me, Will. I learned so much from you--and not just about how to coach the game, but how to live life and give unconditionally. I have never come across anyone with such thrist for life as you have. Continue to fight as only you can. You know that you were and still are my hero as well.

Thanks for sharing the essay, Jason and Terri. Posting it will indeed bring many positive responses Will's way.

Katie Lardy said...

Hi Will,
Terri and Tom!
(Jason, thank you so much for sharing your story!)

I want to echo a phrase that Jason published in his essay that I think is so genuinely true.
"He was one who you could sit down and talk and you knew he was listening."

Will, you have always been willing to listen, and so actively. And you always have a helpful, insightful, (or witty) suggestion or comment. (which might explain why I was frequently over at the house with you and Terri until all hours of the night talking in high school).

This is just one of your many admirable qualities to which I wanted to bring a little more light. I know many others will be able to relate.

The ironic thing now is that I don't know one person who wouldn't give anything to simply sit and listen to you talk right now.
You have an actively listening audience when you're ready to talk.

I love it when Terri passes along the things you communicate.

All my best!
Love and prayers,


Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon Harbison Family,
Well, I have to say that though I was not in high school at that time Will, its very easy to imagine being there with the great memories we had in high school with you right by our sides. Luckily, Angel was only a year behind us! Though I'm sure we would've been lucky because look at the awesome coaching you did with other girl teams around the valley and out of state.
I agree with Katie, Will, you were definitely always there to listen and give advice. Though I come to see you every time I'm home, I haven't kept in touch the way I should've. I am sorry for that! It's frustrating not to be able to talk to you now. Thank you Terri for sharing our words with him. Plenty of time for talk when you get home. You'll probably have to shut off the phones and lock the doors just to get rest. Terri, you'll set up visiting hours right? Obviously, noon to midnight or later! lol And we better get you another fridge for extra pepsi!!!
Praying for great results... Love you all lots

John and Margie said...

Terri, I just want you to know that my entire family is praying for Willie and that all four of you are in our daily thoughts. What an incredible miracle this transplant is and I look forward to seeing Willie again, sometime soon! I wonder which teams coach Will predicts will win on
Saturday? We can feel from afar what an extraordinary time this is for all of you and have faith in what Willie can accomplish. Love the Vipham's

Christi said...

OK - here goes. This is the written version of the "speech" I gave at your 30th birthday party. You should have it on your wall at home and I hope you never forget the words that I know ring true to everyone who knows you. Writing it was easy....Saying it was not (as those of you who were there watching me blubber my way through it saw). it to him over and over, please. And Will, know that every day you grace us all with your presence, we have been forever changed. I love you!

April 2004
I want to take this opportunity to share with you all of the ways you have shaped me in our 29 years and 11 months together. (How bored and lonely you must have been for that month without me). At the risk of opening myself up for one of your witty jabs – I will say that I am rarely at a loss for words. But I don’t even know where to start at this moment.
Here goes!
I have believed, for as long as I’ve known about God, that you were sent here to Earth to change the world. Now – one of the things I love most about you is your humility – so I am sure you don’t buy that the world is in your hands – but in every person you have shared any amount of space with is someone who is forever a better human being. So the cycle continues and the pure and raw kindness keeps moving.
So many words come to mind when I think of you – and some I’ll keep to myself – but of the millions of good ones it’s hard to pick. You are so much at once. You are brave, strong, humble, kind, pure, hilarious, patient, giving, considerate, and purely selfless.
We have all watched you beat the odds for 30 years. And, although your doctors and nurses and therapists and medicine have all played a role, there is no question in my mind that the sole reason we are here to celebrate this day is because you have a gift in your spirit and soul that has carried you back to us every time your body fell in the slightest. And for all of us who have watched you do it, we have learned about the pure power of strength and bravery and absolute faith.
You have been my greatest teacher for my entire life. And not just from the big and obvious displays of your character, but from the smallest moments that were big enough to change me forever. From these moments I have learned that the beauty of you is that you don’t even think twice before you act with kindness or do the right thing – you just always do. Even in your moments of weakness – the rest of us see your strength. I am so grateful that my boys will grow up learning from you what it means to be a good person and that strength, conviction, faith, and selflessness will get you everywhere. (They are still working on the selfless part).
I consider you so much more than my cousin. You are one of my best friends, my brother in every sense of the word, my comic relief at all times, and my biggest inspiration. I have learned more about the goodness in life by growing up (and old) at your side. And you’ve done all you’ve done without even knowing it or expecting anything in return.
You make me want to be a better person and every moment I have with you – I feel that I am. I LOVE YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

Christi and Will
What an AWESOME connection! Will I REALLY like your cousin and agree with her message. You've always been the gentleman.
We have been and continue to learn so much about "life" from you and I believe that behind the scenes the doctors are learning so much more that they will be able to apply to their future transplant patients. Gee, what have we taught you? You probably think we're all CRAZY! lol We are but we learned that from your mom! LOL Love you Terri!
Hope you get some great rest tonight and have big news for us in the a.m.

Erin said...

I remember that game! It was on my 7th birthday. I'm pretty sure Angel & I were more worried about what the cheerleaders were doing, but I still remember it! What a great memory for all of us to remember. Just want you to know I'm thinkin of you Will. Ok, you too Terri. : ) Love you all and praying everyday.